I Love Youth Ministry!

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This has been such a great weekend! Yesterday I went to Hillsborough, where I lived for five fantastic years of my life and served as a Youth Pastor. I hung out with some of my boys. Mark and I drove over to ACS together after we chilled at his place for a little while. Jordan played a Spring League game at Alamance Christian School (ACS), where they killed the first game and got killed in the second (unexpected) game. My boy Nate was there, too.

Today Kelly and I went over to Mebane to see Taylor Tay-Tay Hall off to prom tonight with Nathan Nate-Dogg Jackola. Taylor was dashing and Nathan was dapper. Right now, as I type this blog entry, I am waiting for Jordan to call me so that I can pick him up at the Greensboro Coliseum; he is at the Nickelback Concert and he is going to chill with us tonight and go with us to Awaken tomorrow. I also got to catch up with my boy BJ who is up in Charlotte working and ministering to high school students through YoungLife.

This whole weekend has made me miss Youth Ministry so much. I don't miss the church politics or folks constantly thinking that I am not doing enough or that the youth ministry is not big enough. No. What I miss is being able to spend my time pouring into the life of my YWIT kids. I miss being able to share life with a group of folks who have not yet become jaded by life. I miss being with kids who have a love for God but who are also imperfect and still trying to figure out this whole journey and where they fit in the whole scheme of things.

Being with those guys this weekend has reminded me that even now, as an Executive Pastor, among my primary focus should be a desire to share my life with people. To go where they are and experience life with them. Youth Ministry has a way of reminding you that at the end of the day your job is simple: Love people and leave the rest to God's capable hands.

What has surprised me most about this weekend is that my YWIT kids love me and still want me to be a vital part of their lives. Not because I gave such incredible talks or dazzled them with my creative youth ministry gimmicks. No, they want me to be a part of their life still today, even though they have an incredible and very capable Youth Pastor in Jason, because I lived my life with them. I have cried with them. I have laughed with them. I have lost my temper with them and unfortunately, at times they have heard me cuss. You see, in ministry, especially Youth Ministry, the most important thing is to be real, love your youth and leave the rest to God. That is what I have learned in my ten plus years of Youth Ministry. After all, when the talk ends, life begins.

In Youth Ministry, the youth don't care how much you know or where you got your degree (only the adults worry with that); they want to know that you love them and when the hellish winds of this life start to blow, will you be there with them. They want to know if you will love them even when they stop coming to youth group on Wednesday night. They want to know if you will love them when they question the existence of God. The youth really want to know if you love them or is your love just a gimmick to get them to "accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior".

So, to any person who is considering giving themselves in service to Youth: Be sure that you will love them. Be sure that you will lead them to the hope of Christ. Be sure that you are called.

I love youth ministry; always will.

YWIT, you blessed me more than you will ever know. Thanks for letting me share life with you!


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